Thar she blows! Irving Whale surfaces
Environmentalists dubbed it a ticking time bomb, and nobody knew when — or if — the Irving Whale oil barge would release its dangerous cargo. Toxic discoveries, legal delays and spiralling costs would all ensue before the Irving Whale saw the light of day — 26 years after sinking off Prince Edward Island in 1970.
• Shortly after the operation was complete, the federal government sued the Irving company for the total cost of the recovery: $42 million. In 2000, the issue was settled out of court with Irving paying the government $5 million. Of the agreement, Daniel Green of the environmental group SVP said, "If this is the polluter-pays example, it is the worst precedent that one could have."
• The Irving company also contributed $4 million to cleanup costs when its salvage company, Atlantic Salvage, was part of the flotilla of boats that made up the lifting operation. The Canadian government had to pay the remainder of the recovery costs: $33 million.
• Testing showed that as of February 1999, about 150 kilograms of PCBs remained on the ocean floor - a figure that represents about one per cent of the amount in the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence. Environment Canada says neither human nor marine life is threatened by the PCB presence, although commercial fishing in the immediate area is still prohibited. The site continues to be evaluated regularly for PCB contamination levels.
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: July 30, 1996
Guests: Bill Dancer, Vincent Jarry, Sergio Marchi
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Tonda MacCharles
Last updated: October 18, 2013
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Captain Sven Madsen surveys the damage as cleanup efforts begin.
A Prince Edward Island MP argues the Irving Whale should be raised due...
Residents of the islands near the site of the Irving Whale report find...
Fishermen and environmentalists aren't the only ones who worry what co...
Concerns about its potential for pollution prompt the government to sa...
Irving Oil discloses the presence of toxic PCBs on the Irving Whale, j...
Residents are wondering what to do with the 100,000 bags of PCB-laden ...
Diagrams show just how the Irving Whale was hoisted up.
A court injunction is granted due to the threat of toxic PCBs.
CBC's Quirks and Quarks explains what PCBs can do to the health of ani...
The Canadian Coast Guard and its team of workers are nearly ready to f...
The Irving Whale is brought to the surface and is found to be in remar...
Environmentalists dubbed it a ticking time bomb, and nobody knew when ...